Govt to formulate new policy to boost domestic trade
BHOJ RAJ POUDEL
KATHMANDU, June 21: The government is formulating an Internal Trade Policy (ITP) to better manage and develop local markets and boost local trading activities.
The larger interest of the policy is to better serve the interest of consumers, said an official at Department of Commerce and Supply Management (DoCSM).
“Its goal is to facilitate the establishment and development of value chain, raise employment and income opportunities through expansion of commerce and ultimately attain poverty reduction,” Narayan Prasad Bidari, director general of the DoCSM told Republica.
The department has outsourced the task of preparing the ITP to South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), a Katmandu-based regional think tank.
If the government came up with the policy, it will be the first of its kind on internal trade. So far, the government has policy on foreign trade only. Supply policy too was formulated only recently.
“We expect SAWTEE to submit the draft within a week,” said Bidari, adding that the department will widely circulate it and incorporate all the feedbacks before finalizing it.
SAWTEE officials drafting the policy said the ITP will aim to promote domestic trade by enhancing the backward and forward linkage that directly support the farmers to get returns from their productions in the longer term.
Dr Ratnakar Adhikari, general secretary of SAWTEE said the formulation of ITP was important as the government has so far been given less attention towards increasing the size of domestic trade.
"We must have a substantial size of domestic trade even while giving special emphasis on promoting exports. Only this balanced approach will help us develop a sustainable economy," said Adhikari.
In fact, its (ITP´s) importance has grown in the wake of global economic slowdown. After slowdown affecting exports, countries such as China have proven that it can continue to give momentum to economic growth by focusing on internal trade. "The strong size of the domestic trade boosts the confidence of the country even in times of global crisis," said Adhikari.
Officials said the ITP will broadly be an integrated framework to promote the domestic productions and increase manufacturing sector´s contribution in the economy.
Fundamentally, it will encourage productions for domestic consumptions, create new job opportunities and anticipates this rise in income in turn will boost consumption and help develop markets in all regions of the country.
“The new policy will also focus on smoothening food distribution, improve supplies and facilitate the development of wholesale and retail markets of essential goods by improving connectivity, among others,” said Bidari.